I had to admit I knew absolutely nothing about chicory other than Cafe Du Monde's famous coffee blend and chicory's historical use as a coffee substitute -- especially when real coffee was scarce (such as during the Civil War).
So of course, I had to look up chicory today, starting with good ol' Wikipedia. And here, for your reading pleasure are some of the facts that I uncovered:
- Chicory is the root of the endive plant.
- The use of chicory in coffee is said to have begun in France where it was first introduced by Napoleon's army.
- At one time, people believed that the consumption of too much chicory damaged retinal tissue, leading to blurred vision.
- Chicory is "well known for its toxicity to internal parasites."
- Sweet Maria's warns that stale roasted chicory is just as bad as stale roasted coffee. If you're going to use it, get the good stuff. And they even offer it on their site.
If you have any thoughts, insight or opinions on chicory and coffee, please post a comment.